Monday, May 20, 2013

Backyard Fire Pit

What does $20 plus a couple hours on a Sunday night equal?  A permanent fire pit!


Now that I'm feeling better, and the weather's finally nice out, Mike and I got antsy to do some outdoor projects over the weekend.  Mike and I spent Sunday inside and out working on projects all day and around 4:00 pm I mentioned it would be nice to build the fire pit today.  Weird thing was, Mike admitted he was thinking the same thing!

We bought one of those store-bought fire pits for the crawfish boil last year and, after one season it was already rusty and beat up.

Here's what it looked like new.

Not only was it looking crappy, when we set it up for the party, we forgot to put anything underneath it and it killed the grass.  We tried to fill it in with some grass seed, but we've been living with this bald spot ever since. 


We have fires pretty regular, and when the store bought one didn't cut it, we figured we would build a permanent one.  Before we landscaped we had been using a metal ring that we found in the yard when we moved in.  After all our grass came in, we hauled it to a friend's piece of land to be used later.  (After deciding to start the project last night, we drove the 45 minutes to go pick it up). We kept this in mind for the base of our design.


A week or so ago, Mike was given a bunch of bags of pea gravel from his job.  Sometimes for contractors it's not worth saving materials, so they just throw it away instead of reloading and storing it somewhere.  Obviously, Mike is the opposite, and gladly hauled away the bags.  We figured we could use it somewhere.


Since we had a metal ring and some gravel we decided we go simple and surround the metal ring with the stone.  On the way back from picking up the ring, we stopped at Lowe's and picked up some fiberglass edging, (the only cost for the project, since we had everything else).

Since the ring was 3' in diameter, we decided on 1.5' of stone around, so we started by marking out the outer edge by pounding a stake in the middle and using a string 3', (1.5' for the radius of the ring + 1.5' of stone).  Mike used some spray paint to mark it.



Then he grabbed the edger and cut around the circle.  He tied the string around the edger, just to keep it from getting wonky.


Once the edge was cut we worked together to clean it out.  Mike scrapped everything, then I loaded it into the wheelbarrow.


We were then left with a big bare circle.


In the middle of the oh-so-fun task of digging everything up, we came across an old friend, the clean-out for the downspout drains that go back to the dry well we built.  (You can see it here during the garage project.)


Mike was not very happy to have this on the corner of the fire pit, but at least we now know for sure where it is!

We placed the metal ring in the center of the pit.


Then added a layer of stone.  Maybe an inch or two.  We wanted to build it up to add the edging, since it's shorter than the center ring.  It also allowed for better tweaking of the edging since it's more giving than the dirt.



After the edging was installed, we filled it completely with stone.


We backfilled around the edging with some of the topsoil we dug up, and will put some grass seed down.  The stone is smaller than we would have chosen for this project, but it was free and you can't beat that.  We're going to live with it and see how it works during fires and for mowing around.  We talked about removing an inch or so of small gravel and getting a bag or two of bigger stone if needed.

Overall, I love it!  I always knew we would add a permanent fire pit in the yard, and I'm happy that we were able to do it in one evening for less than $20.


We already have plans with my sister and her boyfriend tonight, so maybe I'll pick up some marshmallows to break it in!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Basement Bathroom and Life Updates

I'm sorry I've been neglectful, I even missed the latest Pinterest Challenge, (agh!), but last week I had surgery to remove my gallbladder.  I spent the last couple months looking forward to getting it out, (gallstones are a bitch), but nothing really prepares you for the surgery, and the subsequent recovery. 

My work was great and gave me a week off, and while I can't lie and not admit to looking forward to a week with no responsibility, I still have three days left and I'm beyond bored!  I'm nowhere near as much of a busybody as Mike, but I'm dying not being able do as much as I'm used to.  I've improved since getting worn out from walking to the bathroom and back, to feeling tired after doing the dishes and a load of laundry or two, (don't worry I'm not picking up any baskets or anything).  I can't wait to be back to a normal routine, and even get some projects done!

I've felt weird not blogging, so I thought after such a heavy admission, (maybe a little too much TMI for a home related blog?), I thought I'd keep it light with a couple updates of the basement bathroom.  I haven't wrote anything about this room since we installed the Ikea vanity and mirror a couple months ago.  As far as bathrooms go, after the large items, (toilet, shower, sink), are installed it's pretty much a completed room.  It's the little touches that really make bathrooms nice.

Since the vanity install, I finished painting all the trim.  I added a couple accessories and then focused on painting the stairs.

Here's the bathroom as it looks today.


I added soap and a candle to the vanity, (whoa watch out dramatic changes), and a hand towel.  Right now the towel is on the left side of the mirror hanging from a command hook, but we're probably going to change it to the right side and it will hang down and cover the outlet since we never use it.  World shattering news, I know.



I also picked up a wicker trashcan from Target and put it between the vanity and toilet.  I'm not a fan of trashcans in the bathroom in the open, but this is a small space and there's no other room.

I'm waiting to make a trip to Ikea again to pick up some brackets to add some shelves above the toilet before really adding the accessories in this space.  In the mean time I put the fake plants I grabbed the last time I was there on the window ledge.  I really like the deep ledges from the glass block windows, so I'm going to have to figure out how to utilize those as well.  

We also installed the Ikea toilet paper holder from the same Ikea haul which seemed to be all about the bathroom the last time.  It literally took me days to figure out where to put this thing.  How can such a small thing seem like such a big deal?  I decided I didn't want to drill into the vanity and put it on the wall instead.  I'm weird and don't like to look into a bathroom and see the toilet paper holder, but it does have it's advantages, like whether or not there's an empty roll left from the last person! 

     
I've been dreaming of some industrial shelves and have pinned some ideas in the last couple of weeks.  I think I've come up with a plan that I can do on my own that will involve some reclaimed wood, (or distressed if I can't find any old stuff), and metal. 

Here's some of the pins I've been using for inspiration.  All sources can be found on my pinterest board for the basement bath.


Obviously, I like the reclaimed wood and black bracket look.  Now, I've just got to get well enough to make make the 90 minute trip to Ikea for the materials.  Oh, and I guess get well enough to be a functioning member of society too.  Priorities people.